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美国独立宣言中的清教理念


一、    综述国内外对本课题的研究动态,说明选题的依据和意义:
美国是当前世界上经济实力最强的超级大国。科技的飞跃发展让世界已成为一个“地球村”,美国在各方面对世界及其他国家的影响越来越大。所以,了解认知美国很有必要。认知了解美国,最首要的是了解美国独立宣言和清教主义,及其对美国国民和美国社会的影响。国内外在这方面的研究及其著作文章很多。如:American History A Survey ,American History the modern era since 1865,American Puritanism: Faith and Practice,An Outline of American History,陈华的“清教思想与美国精神”(四川师范大学学报:社科报 2004),刘智的“美国价值观之清教主义根源”(深圳大学学报:人文社科报 2004)。相关的优秀大学课程有王加丰和周旭东合编的《美国历史与文化》(浙江:浙江大学出版社,2005年),朱永涛的《英语国家社会与文化入门》(北京:高等教育出版社,1998年)。通过对这些材料教程的阅读,可以进一步的了解和认识美国及美国社会,更好的理解一些美国社会现象。如《独立宣言》中讲到 :我们认为下面这些真理是不言而喻的:人人生而平等,造物者赋予他们若干不可剥夺的权利,其中包括生命权、自由权和追求幸福的权利。为了保障这些权利,人类才在他们之间建立政府,而政府之正当权力,是经被治理者的同意而产生的。当任何形式的政府对这些目标具破坏作用时,人民便有权力改变或废除它,以建立一个新的政府;其赖以奠基的原则,其组织权力的方式,务使人民认为唯有这样才最可能获得他们的安全和幸福……这个划时代的宣言中所传送的清教精神,体现的清教理念,如:天赋人权,人人平等,对美国国民和美国社会产生了深远的影响。据1990年美国人口调查资料显示:90%的美国人信仰宗教,其中信奉基督新教的居多数,占56%,约1.4亿人。由此可见,新教在美国的地位和影响。而这些可以借助本课题的研究有更深的理解。


二、    研究的基本内容,拟解决的主要问题:
论文是以美国,独立宣言,美国清教为其研究的基本内容,拟解决的主要问题有:1 美国独立历史的简介;2 独立宣言的内容和其重要民主思想观点;3 美国清教主义和独立宣言中的清教理念;4 清教主义对美国国民和美国社会的影响。

三、    研究的步骤、方法、措施及进度安排:
1.研究步骤:
(1) 在指导老师的帮助下,通过网络资源以及图书馆的资料,收集所写论题的相关文献,了解国内外对美国独立宣言的介绍和研究以及清教主义对美国的影响,确定论文题目;
(2)  整理、总结和综合已有资料,写出论文提纲和完成指导老师下达的任务书;
(3)  在国外主要报纸和网络上收集了适量的材料作为研究资料,具体详细分析了美国独立宣言的产生,实质、主要宗旨和其中的民主思想,以及清教主义对美国的影响; 
(4) 综合已有的资料和语料分析结果,完成了开题报告;在指导老师的指导下,完善论文提纲,从书本知识了解、清教主义对美国及其文化影响的个案分析几个方面完成初稿,并交由指导老师审阅; 
(5) 根据指导老师的修改意见,进一步完善论文的结构与内容;
(6) 交第二稿、审稿、最后定稿答辩。
2、方法及措施
   通过图书馆、因特网以及指导老师所提供的资料,查找和收集相关资料;认真分析研究资料;指导老师的帮助和指导;同学之间的交流与沟通。
3、进度安排:
 

四、    主要参考文献:
[1] Bercovitch, S. The Puritan Origins of the American Self. New Haven: Yale University Press,1975.
[2] Brinkley, Alan. American History A Survey. New York: McGraw-Hill Press, 2003.
[3] Brown, George America a Narrative History. New York:W.W.Norton Press,1999.
[4] Hopfe, Lewis M. & Mark R.Woodward. Religions of the World. Beijing: Peking University Press, 2005.
[5] Olsen, Keane. An Outline of American History. The United States Information Agency, 1994. 
[6] Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954.
[7] Ritchie, Donald A. American History the Modern Era Since 1865. New York: McGraw-Hill Press, 1999.
[8] Ruttman, D. B. American Puritanism: Faith and Practice. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1970.
[9] 陈华:“清教思想与美国精神”,《四川师范大学学报》,4(2004):58-62。
[10] 刘智:“美国价值观之清教主义根源”,《深圳大学学报》,1(2004):116-120。
[11] 王加丰:《美国历史与文化》。杭州:浙江大学出版社,2005年。
[12] 朱永涛:《英语国家社会与文化入门》。北京:高等教育出版社,1998年。


Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………………………...1
1 The Road to American Independence………………………………………….2
2 The Declaration of Independence……………………………………….……..4
2.1 The Context of the Declaration of Independence…………………………4
2.2 Democracy Ideas in the Declaration of Independence……………………6
3 Puritanism……………………………………………………………………...8
3.1 American Puritanism……………………………………………………...8
3.2 Puritanism in the Declaration of Independence………………………….10
4 The Influences of Puritanism on Americans………………………………….11
4.1 Equality…………………………………………………………………..11
4.2 Individual Freedom………………………………………….………….12
4.3 Independence…………………………………………………………….12
  4.4 Assiduity and Diligence…………………………………………………12
Conclusion……………………………………………………………………...13
Works Cited…………………………………………………………………….15
Acknowledgments……………………………………………………………...16

 

Introduction
America, a super powerful country, plays a very important role in the world nowadays. The research on American history and American culture increases gradually,especially the history of the American independence, the Declaration of Independence and Puritanism. Abroad, many books about them are published, for example: An Outline of American History, America History the Modern Era Since 1865, American History A Survey, American Puritanism, The Puritan Origins of the American Self. At home, such books as American History and Cultural and The Introduction to the Society and Culture of Major English-speaking Countries are in hand. They all have introductions on the American independent history, the Declaration of Independence, and Puritanism individually. “The Declaration of Independence was an epoch-work indeed for it not only announced the birth of a new nation, but also set forth a philosophy of human freedom that would become a dynamic force throughout the entire world”(Olsen 78). “The Puritanism had influenced the American spirits in aspects, like the consciousness of leading, the democracy consciousness, the respect to career and education, and the spirit of work-hard. Understanding the American values and the origin of Puritanism is helpful to comprehend America profoundly” (Ruttman 58). “Because Europe’s Puritanism culture was the source to American culture, and American culture and values rooted deeply Puritanism belief from North America colonizes” (Bercovitch 116). Whether there are commons or some inherent relationships between the Declaration of Independence and Puritanism? What is their influence to Americans and American society? This paper mainly explores these aiming at having a preliminary knowledge to the America and a better comprehension to the America culture.
The first part of the thesis introduces the road of Americans to independence briefly. Through a series of struggles, they separated themselves from the Old World by the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, 1776.
The second part is about the Declaration of Independence, including the content and the democracy ideas. 
The third part contains American Puritanism and the Puritanism in the Declaration of Independence, such as, the equality and the natural rights.
Finally, the fourth part is about the major influences of Puritanism to Americans, which are the equality, the individual freedom, the independence, the assiduity and diligence. Understanding these, we can better comprehend some events or phenomena in America, which are quite different or strange in our eyes.

1 The Road to American Independence 
In 1492 Christopher Columbus, an explorer and trader, discovered the New World, which was named after Amerigo in 1507.
    After the discovery of the New World, the European powers sent many explorers to the new continents and they began to compete with each other in occupying the New World.
Most explorers and settlers who came to America from the 16th century to the 17th century were English, who established 13 colonies along the Atlantic coast, but there were also Dutch, Swedes and Germans in the middle region, a few French Huguenots in South Carolina and elsewhere, slaves from Africa, primarily in the South, and a scattering of Spaniards, Italians and Portuguese throughout the colonies (Olsen 27).
Since the English government won France in the Seven Year’s War, Britain was given the title to Canada and all of North America east of the Mississippi River. In order to strengthen the control, Britain needed a new imperial design. However, the situation in America was anything but favorable to change. Long accustomed to a large measure of independence, the colonies were demanding more, not less, freedom. In order to put a new system into effect, and to tighten control, British Parliament had to contend with colonists trained in self-government. 
The first step in inaugurating the new system was the replacement of the Molasses Act of 1733 with the Sugar Act of 1764 in the hope of lowering the duty on molasses, which would reduce the temptation to smuggle it from the Dutch and French West Indies for processing in the rum distilleries of New England. To enforce the Sugar Act, customs officials were ordered to show more energy and effectiveness. British warships in American waters were instructed to seize smugglers, and writs of assistance or warrants, authorized the king’s officers to search suspected premises. Merchants, legislatures and town meetings protested the law, and colonial lawyers found in the preamble of the Sugar Act the first intimation of taxation without representation, the slogan that was to draw many to the American cause against the mother country. 
The greatest organized resistance by colony people was against the Stamp Act, which provided that revenue stamps should be affixed to all newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets, licenses, leases or other legal documents, used for defending, protecting and securing the colonies.
On March 5, 1770, antagonism between citizens and British soldiers, whose presence in Boston was a standing invitation to disorder, flared into violence, which was called Boston Massacre. On the night of December 16, 1773, a band of men disguised as Mohawk Indians and led by Samuel Adams boarded three British ships lying at anchor and dumped their tea cargo into Boston harbor, which set a fire for the American Revolution. Obviously, the English people and Europeans had become Americans and they were ready to separate themselves from the Old World.
In January 1776, Thomas Paine, a political theorist and writer who had come to America from England in 1774, published a 50-page pamphlet, Common Sense. Within three months, 100,000 copies of the pamphlet were sold. Paine attacked the idea of hereditary monarchy, declaring that one honest man was worth more to society than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived. He presented the alternatives — continued submission to a tyrannical king and an outworn government, or liberty and happiness as a self-sufficient, independent republic. Circulated throughout the colonies, Common Sense helped to crystallize the desire for separation (Olsen 135).
At the suggestion of the Virginia House of Burgesses, colonial representatives met in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, to consult upon the present unhappy state of the Colonies. Delegates to this meeting, known as the First Continental Congress, were chosen by provincial congresses or popular conventions. Then, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 10, 1775. On May 10, 1776 — one year to the day since the Second Continental Congress had first met — a resolution was adopted calling for separation. Now only a formal declaration was needed. On June 7, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution declaring that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.... Immediately, a committee of five, headed by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, was appointed to prepare a formal declaration.

2 The Declaration of Independence 
2.1 The Context of the Declaration of Independence 
Largely Jefferson’s work, the Declaration of Independence, adopted July 4, 1776, was the unanimous declarati

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